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Learning English - Words in the News
25 July, 2005 - Published 11:12 GMT
Australia approves elephant import

The Australian government has approved the importation of 8 elephants. Environmental groups are challenging the decision saying that it is cruel to keep elephants in zoos. This report from Phil Mercer:

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The eight elephants destined for zoos in Sydney and Melbourne have been in quarantine in Thailand since last October. After months of deliberation Australia's environment minister, Ian Campbell, has approved their importation and they are due to arrive later this year.

Wildlife campaigners have insisted that scientific evidence has proved that elephants in zoos don't breed well and suffer a wide range of health problems. On top of that, it's claimed they die at a younger age than those living in the wild or kept in parks. Nicola Beynon from the Humane Society International is hoping legal action here in Australia will force the government to reverse its decision:

Nicola Benyon:
"Conservation groups, animal welfare groups in Australia, in Thailand and internationally are exceptionally disappointed with this decision. We think the minister has had to bend the rules of his environment laws to make this decision and we're launching an appeal in the administrative appeals tribunal."

The government in Canberra is allowing these Asian elephants into Australia as part of a conservation programme which it believes will help safeguard the species. The population of these magnificent animals has been decimated over the past century. It's estimated that fewer than 34,000 now remain across a dozen countries.

Phil Mercer, BBC

Listen to the words

destined for
going to

in quarantine
in a secure place away from other animals to prevent the possible spread of any diseases

After months of deliberation
After months of thinking about and discussing

mate and produce children

On top of that
also, as well


launching an appeal
beginning a legal process to try to change a decision that has already been made


mostly destroyed

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